Tuesday, September 13, 2016

OnFire #342 Unexpected Surprises

Hi Folks,

While vacationing this summer in Banff and Jasper national parks, we did a lot of hiking. Some were longer hikes, like to the Teahouse at Lake Louise or Wilcox Pass in Jasper, and some were shorter to view waterfalls.

On one of these shorter walks, we hiked to view Bridal Veil Falls, just off the highway not far from Athabaska Glacier in Jasper National Park. It was not a difficult walk as we descended into a river ravine,  and soon we arrived at a wonderful view of our objective. Several hundred feet above us, water tumbled down the rock face and resembled the tulle of a bride’s veil.

The combination of the beauty, and the roar of the water pouring down the mountain mesmerized us.

As we watched this stunning spectacle, we became aware of another sound, not coming from Bridal Veil Falls, but to our left further up the ravine. The path continued, and so we followed it around the bend a few more hundred metres and discovered another waterfall, this one even more spectacular because the water poured literally out of the rock face. Over the life of the river, it had cut a channel through the limestone until it broke out in the middle of the cliff.

Imagine our surprise! We had hiked into the ravine to see one stunning waterfall, only to find another even more spectacular.

There was a lesson for us in this. God may surprise us at the most unlikely of times. 

There is something in us, that when things are going well, we want to settle in and make it last as long as we can. This is natural. But it can become dangerous if it prevents us from seeing how God might lead in the future. We avoid change or risk because we might lose our good thing. Hey - maybe  it’s not even that good, but just OK - at least we know it and it feels comfortable. Never mind that there might be something better, we want to stay the same because it is risky to make a change.

I think about this in church life – how hard it is change because we risk losing people, or listening to new music, or even having to meet new people, or possibly losing control.

I think about this in personal life – how hard it is to volunteer for something new, to put myself out there in a different situation, to do something I have never done, to risk mentioning a crazy idea. It seems easier to stay the same. If anything, I tend to be very cautious even if I am trying to move ahead.

This is the question for us – can we trust God to leave the good and seek the better? This is often the tension we face – to lay down our lives that we may live: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8:35*)

I hope this helps. Be on fire!


OnFire is a letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis.  Married  to Jan, Troy is a chaplain and has more than 20 years of pastoral experience. This letter published Sept 13, 2016. *NIV. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or reply, email onfireletter@gmail.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com